A Factual Response to the Hate Attack on the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF)
 © Friends of India and Authors of the Report
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Foreign Funding to the Church

Author: Rajender Chaddha

Publication: Organiser

Date: October 17, 1999

It’s the religious leaders sitting outside the country who have always guided the Church movement in India.  Very often their spiritual guidance is cosidered as a dictate for these organizations, because of their control over financial assistance provided to them. 

The annual Home Ministry Report, Receipt of Foreign Contribution by Voluntary Association, and the available Church literature in the country seems to substantiate the view that there exists a strong link between foreign funding and Church and para-Church organizations here. 

Even a glance at this bulky Government report, spread over nearly a thousand pages, indicate that over 80 per cent of the voluntary organizations receiving foreign aid are in fact Christian organizations engaged in spread of the religion, either directly through propagation or indirectly through social service.  And these organizations consume the bulk of the foreign assistance. 

Even the topmost donor agencies are major Christian funding organizations.  In case one is not aware of the nature of the funding agency, the name itself becomes self-exaplanatory.  One could hardly have any doubt over the objective of the funding agencies whose name appears in the list of 25 major donors of the report.  For the year 1997-98, the Christian Children Fund from the US topped the list with Rs 64.  78 crore is followed by Evangelische Zentralstelle (EZE ) from Germany with Rs 59 crore; Foster Parents Plan International, US, with Rs 55.45 crore; Missio (International Catholic Missionary Work), Germany, with Rs 48.9 crore and Kinder Not Hilfe (KNH), Germany, with Rs 46 crore. 

Have a glance at some of the other donor agencies of the list: Rs 37.54 crore from the World Vision International, US; Rs 27 crore from the Age of Enlightenment Trust, Britain; Rs 23 crore from the Inter Church Co-ord Committee, Netherlands, Rs 21.  45 crore from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Britain; Rs 20 crore from Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM), Germany; Rs 19.9 crore from the Opere Don Bosco, Italy; Rs 19.  4 crore from the Christian Aid, Britain; Rs 19.1 crore from the Zentralstelle Fur Entwickshilfe (ZEF), Germany; Rs 16 crore from the Bread for the World, Germany and Rs 15 crore from the Mission Prokure, Germany. 

If one looks at the annual report of previous years, these organizations (mentioned above) seem to have been dominating the list, of donors, be it the top five or the top 25 donors.  Only one Hindu and one Buddhist organisation appear in the list, namely the Maharishi Ayurvedic Trust, Britain and Sokagakkai Bhinjukku, Japan. 

A glimpse at the list of donor agencies indicates that the top five agencies have been dominated by those donating funds for the propagation of Christianity.  For instance, the top five for the past four years have been restricted to the Foster Parents Plan International and Christian Childrens Fund from the US, EZE, Missio, Misereor (Catholic Bishops Fund for Overseas Development) and KNH from Germany.  In this decade till now, the top five donor agencies have donated Rs 1,344 crore. 

It should be noted that in 1995-96, the first four positions were held by organizations from Germany, while in other years, at least three were from Germany.  This decade alone between 1991 and 1998, Germany has donated Rs 3,091 crore to Indian organizations of which nearly one-fourth came from-EZE, Missio and Misereor-which are known for giving patronage to Christian organizations.  The Foster Parents International and the Christian Children Fund both from the US have pumped in more than Rs 612 crore this decade.  In some cases the per annum donation has increased manifold, which can be directly linked to the grand plan to increase the reach of Christianity to every nook and corner of the country.  For instance, the per annum contribution of EZE increased from Rs 21.46 crore in 1991-92 to Rs 59.03 crore in 1997-98, an increase of over 275 per cent.  However, the most significant increase has been that of the Christian Children Fund from the U.S., which increased from a mere Rs 15.44 crore to Rs 64.78 crore a jump of 420 per cent. 

The statistics themselves are mind-boggling.  The top five donor countries this decade have been the US, Germany, Britain, Italy, and the Netherlands, and have been traditionally known for their support to Christian organizations.  According to available figures, voluntary donations from these countries this decade have totaled more than Rs 10,000 crore. 

Now let’s have a look at the purpose why this money is being sent to India.  The purpose as revealed by the recipient seems to substantiate the argument that the money being pumped into India is solely to spread and increase the influence of Christianity, where more than 80 per cent of the population is Hindu.  The top five purposes as mentioned in the Home Ministry report have been rural development, health care, and family welfare, care of orphans, help to the poor and construction and extension of schools and colleges.  The Indian Christian organizations have been known as pioneers in the fields mentioned above.  It is only in the last few years that a few NGOs have ventured into these fields. 

As during this decade, the Church and para-Church organizations in India have been placed emphasis on serving the poor in the rural areas, (which is strongly mentioned in Mission Mandate).  The donation in this category of help to the poor has jumped from Rs 58.74 crore in 1991-92 to Rs 210.06 crore in 1997-98.  Similarly, the contributions in health and family welfare sector have more than doubled, from Rs 112.1 crore to Rs 306.3 crore and that in Rural Development from Rs 132.3 crore to Rs 279.91 crore. 

Shifting the focus from the donors to the recipients again strengthens the argument that a conversion agenda underlies Christian development in India.  Being aware of the present Indian arrangement, one can hardly guess how much money funnels into the country through other channels, when the official ones have so much to reveal. 

Though in the last couple of years a few other organizations, particular the Hindus, have emerged as one among the top recipients of foreign money, still the majority of them seem to be Christian organizations and some of them are known for openly propagating the message of Christ. 

Just like the donor agencies, the list of top 25 recipient agencies is dominated by the Christian organizations in India, including three from the top five.  For instance, the Foster Parents Plan International has received Rs 210.79 crore between 1991 and 1998, while the world Vision International received Rs 195.24 crore and the CSI Council for Child Care Rs 158.46 crore.  Some of the prominent Christian organizations featuring in these annual lists, include Christian Children Fund, Karnataka; Family Planning Association of India, Churches Auxiliary For Social Action, Delhi; Missionaries of Charity, West Bengal; Watch Tower Bible Tract Society of India in Maharashtra; Gospel for Asia in Kerala; Indian Society of Churches of Jesus of Jesus Christ in Delhi and the India Campus Crusade for Christ in Arnataa.  All of them have received at least Rs 12 crore per annum. 

A glimpse at the list of the 12,198 associations that received donations to the tune of Rs 2,864.51 crore in 1997-98 indicates that an overwhelming number of these are Christian orgnizations and many of them have openly engaged in the evangelization.  For example, the Delhi-based Indian Evangelical Team mentioned in the list of recipients of foreign funds proudly proclaims in the Mission Mandate that it converts 2,000 people every year.  According to it, the annual budget is Rs 40 lakh, of which 60 per cent is raised in India and one can be sure that the balance of 40 per cent came from foreign countries.  Similarly, the Living Hope Missionaries have converted 2,000 people in the last five-year and has planned to build 100 house Churches.  In Tamil Nadu the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, which has been receiving foreign contributions, claims to have converted 3,400 people annually.  These organizations have been named just to focus on the symbiotic relationship between foreign donations and Christian activities in India. 

A large chunk of this money has been going to the Southern States, namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.  In addition, Delhi and Maharashtra have also been among the top recipients of these donations.  The top five states that are recipients of voluntary funds this decade have been Tamil Nadu (Rs 2,365 crore) followed by Delhi (Rs 2086 crore), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1,691 crore), Maharashtra (1,516 crore) and Karnataka (Rs 1,486 crore).  However, in the past four decades the top five recipient states have been Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Kerala. If we consider the donations going to both the Southern and Eastern regions, then these account for most of the money. 

This data regarding recipients of donations raises yest another troubling question: if serving the poor really has been the goal of these organizations dominated mainly by the Christians, then why does the money go to the States which are relatively higher in Human Development Index and why not to the BIMARU States?  For an observer of Christian institutions in India, the answer obviously seems to be the relatively ‘soft target’ in these States, unlike the ‘Hindi-belt’, where Christian evangelization has not been an easy task for many centuries. 

The regional spread of foreign money is corroborated by the following paragraphs in the Mission Mandate by Shri M.  Patrick Joshua of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band: “The Church in India is 65.5 per cent in South India, 10.6 per cent Christians are living in North East India, 24 per cent Indian Christians are scattered across the large part of North India”. 

The book further concedes that helping the poor, be it through financial assistance, or orphanage, education, or through hospitals and other charitable institutions, is solely for evangelization.  The book proudly refers to several such instances where innocent poor Indians have been converted due to these underhanded tricks and strategies.  These answers seem to be substantiated by the Christian literature available in the market. 

The Hindi translation of the Book, How to Communicate the Good News, writes on page 38: “one of the last messages of the Christ is not only to propagate the message of (mukti) renunciation, but also to engage in Baptism.  Go, give Baptism, and teach them.  Thus, he said to his students: there is a large number of prepared crops.  Thus, request the owners of the land to send in more labourers urgently because standing crop might not get dried or others might cut it”.  One can very easily find these similar messages in other Christian literatures also.  For example in the Nishkalanka magazine, (September ’98 issue), the Catholic Ashram Mandir of Hazaribagh gave an advertisement seeking labourers for harvesting the crop in the area. The advertisement has quoted the same statement of Christ as mentioned in the Bible. 

How effective these relief and social welfare measures have been for propagating the message of Christ can be gauged from an example mentioned on page 251 of the Mission Mandate, where it says that the Evangelical Church of India has a separate department for Relief and Development Ministries.  Agencies like the World Vision of India have provided them support in the relief work.  “We have been encouraging relief and development projects through our local Churches for the benefit of the poor young converts who are otherwise deprived of Government jobs”.  Using the example of flood and cyclone in Chennai in October 1984, the book says: “We built a few thatched roof houses, provided a well for them, supplied free clothing and food grains.  A place of worship was built and an evangelist was appointed to follow them up.  Several families gave up their hearts to Christ without any pressure or coercion from our side.  More than 20 families were Baptized the same day.  When these converts were Baptized, the new settlement was christened as Franklin Nagar after the name of the president of Samaritan’s Purse”  (Page 252). 

One can easily continue quoting one text or aother in favor of the argument linking foreign funding and the spread of Christian missionary activities in India.  However, all is not well within the Christian organizations also.  Although for an outsider, it is very difficult to get the details on the level of corruption or other mis-appropriation of foreign monies by them, some of the texts do provide a pointer to these activities. 

A survey of Christian educational institutions has been reported in Renewal-2000 -- A Survey of the Archdiocese of Delhi, 1997, with the results of survey themselves explanatory.  One, commenting on the present status of the Catholic educational institutions, stated that about 50 per cent of the respondents feel that most, or at least the majority of these, have become commercial institutions. 

What is the attitude of the Catholic schools regarding admission to the children of poor Catholics?  About 35 per cent of the respondents feel that at least the majority of the Catholic schools do not admit the children of poor Catholics.  With the annual Home Ministry report, which indicates that a large number of Church and para-Church organizations receive foreign moneies, and the suspicion being substantiated by the available literature here, no one can remain in doubt about the real objective behind their ‘social service’. 


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